Onsite Wastewater System Do's & Don'ts

Preventative maintenance for homes with septic tanks and onsite wastewater treatment systems

  • Don't dump grease and cooking fats down the drain. Keep a separate container for grease disposal. 
  • Normal amounts of household detergents and bleach won't stop the bacterial action in the system. Don't dump excessive amounts of any household chemicals or pharmaceuticals, including latex paint down the drain.
  • Dispose of materials that will not decompose, with your trash, and not into the sewer system. Some such items are: cigarette buts, facial tissues, kitty litter, wet strength towels, diaper, hair, prophylactics, hygiene items, egg shells, and coffee grounds.
  • Don't dump recreational vehicle waste into the onsite wastewater system.
  • Don't use the garbage disposal to get rid of garbage; use it for dish clean up only. Things like citrus peels and melon rinds do not decompose easily and can plug the drain field.
  • If water softener is in the home, use a regeneration product other than salt and keep backwash cycles set as low as possible.
  • The addition of biological additives or boosters is not necessary. Some may even harm the drain field.
  • Don't have a single laundry washday. Wash laundry loads as they accumulate.
  • Make sure that there are no leaky faucets or toilets. When replacing old fixtures, buy new water saving fixtures.
  • Water from roof downspouts and upslope surface drainage should be made to flow around the waste system tanks and disposal field.
  • Always call a professional with any concerns regarding your septic system.
  • Don't remodel the home to create more occupancy capacity then the waste system was designed to handle.
  • Know where your system tank(s) and drain field are located. Don't drive over or allow livestock over the system tank(s) or drain-field unless the system has been designed for traffic. Don't dig around, landscape, or build over the waste system components until it is verified to be OK.
  • Never enter a septic tank or any waste system tank. Call a professional if any repair work is needed.
  • Have the system tank(s) pumped as needed. Pumping frequency can be determined from a chart (call us). 
  • If the system has a standard septic tank, it is recommended that the effluent filter be cleaned once a year. If the tank does not have a filter, it is advised that you have one installed.
  • Systems that are not standard septic systems are sometimes called alternative wastewater treatment systems. They usually treat the waste from the home to a much higher level than a septic tank is capable of. These systems have special maintenance requirements that are specific to the system type and manufacturer. It is very important that you know what kind of system that you have and what the maintenance needs are.